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Discussion Starter #1
I've posted a few times over the last couple months about some mechanical problems with my current 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan but I thought I would ask a question that may shock about 95% of the people on this site. Here it goes...(gulp)


If you didn't want to purchase a new Subaru, what car WOULD you buy and why?

There's one condition though...you have under $20,000 only.


OK...go ahead and think about that as I run for cover and hide in my barricaded castle to avoid the launching flaming arrows and catapulted boulders!

((((:)gasp:)))))
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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I would buy a used Pontiac Torrent GXP most likely. Practical, and all the goodies. Always liked them.
 

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2013 2.5i Premium 6mt, Twilight Blue
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$20,000 MSRP limits you to compare to only one car in Subaru's lineup, so I'm going to assume you mean under $20,000 negotiated; in which case either a Ford Fusion or Mazda 3.
 

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13 blk Outback 2.5i cvt AW package, bunch of other OEM accessories...12 blk F350 6.2 gasser 4x4...10 Goldwing red nav ...04 JD 4510 loader/bhoe
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77 Posts
Under 20k...hmmm

You could go with any car in the 22-24k range sticker with incentives and negotiating get in under 20k easy.
A lot depends on how you want to vehicle outfitted? You want rubber floors and roll up windows? Power anything? Into the gadgetry?

If you want a good car, the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic cannot be beat. You can get one nicely outfitted, priced right, longevity and great gas mileage.
Or, get into a low end Camry/Accord for about 20 k after wheeling-n-dealing.

Again, check out the Chevy Cruze also, it's a good competitor for the above.

I've owned all the above and are great cars !

Good luck and enjoy the ride.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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No clue. Ground clearance is the thing that draws me to the outback, and there's not much else out there with the same or better. And with that price limit the non-Subaru alternatives might dwindle to maybe a high-mileage Hyundai Tucson.

I did discover that carsort.com is fun for this sort of experiment.
 

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2007 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean
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Hi there!

Depending on space needs, you can get into a new Ford Fusion or Chevy Cruze for under $20k. I tend to be a GM fan (though my Outback certainly has me liking Subarus), but I have friends with new Fusions and they love them.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi there!

Depending on space needs, you can get into a new Ford Fusion or Chevy Cruze for under $20k. I tend to be a GM fan (though my Outback certainly has me liking Subarus), but I have friends with new Fusions and they love them.
I was pricing the new Ford Fusion and they seem to cost more than 20k. Almost around $23-26,000. I guess they have been getting good reviews and I think Ford is running a special on them til February 28th. Something like no money down, zero interest, etc.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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hold off a few months and get a chevy cruze diesel, should be able to get a base model for under 20k, and 42mpg
I just rented a 1.8L gas cruze last week: 340 miles driven on 10.2 gallons for 33mpg average.

In that area last week, 87 octane was 3.799/gal, and diesel was 4.399/gal.

11.4 cents per mile measured in the gas car.
Diesel at 42mpg would come in at 10.4 cents per mile.

If you drive 30k miles a year that's a $300 difference at those fuel prices. The diesel version can't cost much different and sell well, at least not on these numbers alone.

The 6-speed auto in the car handled nicely, I'm sure it's the real key to the car's efficiency. The engine didn't have a lot of oomph, and buzzed its way up to 5k quickly if I put the pedal in. Most of the time I had the cruise control set and the tach hovering at 2k.

The seats were characteristically uncomfortable, with very poor lumbar support and almost no thigh support. Steering was without effort or road feel, like turning the dial on a stove. That said, the car handled reasonably well.

Dash instruments were poorly lit- even after I mastered the confusing illumination control, I just couldn't make the gauges bright enough to satisfy me in daylight driving. Other displays and indicators in the car were appropriately bright, so I'm not sure if one bulb or element had failed or if it is just a poorly lit cluster.

I found that it was extremely easy to inadvertently move the cabin temp control with my right knee. I thought to look this up and judging from the results of googling "cruze heater knee" I am far from alone in finding this design flaw.

Stereo & console were nothing to phone home about. Clunky system with too many buttons and too little quality. Looks like it would be difficult, expensive or both to replace with standardized DIN gear.

Fit & finish were acceptable, materials as you'd expect for a low trim chevy.

I drove the car in snow and one destination involved a driveway it couldn't climb until later after we laid sand tracks. Traction control did its thing without being too obtrusive.

Brakes were a high point on this car- beautiful pedal feel, adequate power assist, and though the ABS did trigger a bit early on the driveway attempt, it was polite and easy to manage. Exactly right for the type of car it is.

Overall, I liked the car other than the whole interior. I'd like it if they engineered a better seat for taller drivers and took a fresh stab at the dash & console.
 

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2008 subaru outback 2.5i
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472 Posts
I would find a newer 4 door jeep wrangler i know the rubicon would be out of the question with 20k price
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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I have 2 toyotas and a year old subie, so I am replacing 1 of my motorcycles with the $20k. Maybe I'll buy used, and get 2.

This has to be the best answer.
What do I win?
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 i Premium
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Going new really narrows it down. I'd probably plant myself in either a VW Golf or a Ford Focus hatchback. Maybe even a Honda Fit. I'd suffer through a few others but I have to enjoy what I drive.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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One question with the Under $20,000 rule. Are you looking at new cars or used? New you are pretty limited.

Used, you have a whole world of options. I like buying slightly used, low mileage cars. Low mileage so you still have the majority of the factory warranty. (Subaru and Toyota both have better warranties, 100,000 miles, for their certified used cars than you get with a new cars.) You also get a whole heck of a lot more for your money with slightly used.

When I replaced my Corolla, We ended up finding a 2 year old Ford Fusion SEL V6. The car was loaded with just about everything you could get. To buy it new, it would have been a $32,000 car, we paid $16,000 for it.

Back to the original question, if you can't buy a Subaru and have a $20,000 budget, here are my thoughts:

Slightly used Toyota Rav4. Locally, they are listing a 2010 Rav4 with 4wd for $16,000 to $19,000 depending on mileage.
Slightly used Ford Escape, If you can catch a good deal, you can probably find a new generation Ford Explorer used that is within your budget.
Slightly used Kia Sorento.
Slightly used Hyundai Touscon. Spacious, peppy engine, good mileage, and you can get them cheap. The problem there is I don't like the road handling. Take the money you save and buy good tires and some suspension upgrades like front and rear sway bars.
 
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